‘Manger mom’: I left my baby in the hands of God
By Lorena Mongelli
December 4, 2015 | 2:39am
The abandoned baby found in the manger at Holy Child Jesus Church in Richmond Hill.
Photo: Christopher Ryan Heanue
Last week, a newborn boy was found abandoned and swaddled in a towel in a Nativity scene at a Queens church, a surreal and heartbreaking story for a city preparing to celebrate Christmas. The mother’s reason for leaving her child has been a mystery. But here, the 18-year-old woman tells Post reporter Lorena Mongelli in her native Spanish why she made the decision. She wished to remain anonymous because her family never knew she was pregnant. The police have declined to press charges.
I had just arrived to New York five months ago from Mexico, and nobody knew I was pregnant. I didn’t even tell the baby’s father in Mexico because I knew I was leaving.
My aunt, who is living with me now, still doesn’t know. She didn’t recognize me from the blurry pictures released to the media last week. Even now, I’m too afraid to reveal my identity.
Throughout the pregnancy, I wore loose-fitting clothes, but I didn’t really gain that much weight.
A custodian discovered the baby at the Queens church on Monday.Photo: Christopher Ryan Heanue
I gained only 10 pounds, so nobody ever noticed. I never got any medical checkups, only once in Mexico, where doctors confirmed I was pregnant and estimated the baby would be born sometime in December.
I was extremely scared when I suddenly went into labor last week, alone in my house.
I must have been in excruciating pain for over two hours, and at some point, I just knew that I needed to get the baby out. I started pushing because each time I pushed, the pain would go away.
I pushed for 15 minutes until the baby finally came out. It was a boy, but he didn’t let out a cry until later, so I really had no idea whether he was OK. I was too scared to cut the umbilical cord, so I left it on.
I picked him up and carried him out the door with the cord still dangling. I didn’t have any baby clothes for him, but I needed to take him someplace safe.
EMTs at the scene where a newborn baby was found in a church Nativity scene.Photo: Christopher Ryan Heanue
I’m very religious, and I thought about the Holy Child Jesus Church. I’ve been there before, and the people there are good.
I knew if I left him in God’s hands, he would be OK.
It was cold outside, and on the way there, I noticed his lips were turning purple. I thought, I don’t want him to die, he must be cold.
I ran into the first store I saw and purchased a towel to wrap him in.
The Nativity scene at Holy Child Jesus Church in Queens.Photo: Reuters
I rushed into the church and left him in the manger. He was crying. I just prayed he was warm enough. I knew the priest would find him, and somebody would help him.
I even went back the next day, just to make sure.
The people at church recognized me and told me he was OK. I’m glad the baby is healthy and was released from the hospital this week, but I haven’t seen him.
I know it will be hard to see him right now because I’m still thinking about whether I am going to keep him. I haven’t decided yet, but it’s a possibility.
I would love to be a mom one day, but right now, I don’t feel I’m ready. I don’t know when the right time would be, but I do need a stable job first.
It’s my baby, and I am still thinking about keeping him. It’s not an easy decision.
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